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Attention incoming interns! Here's a list of TIPS I WISH I KNEW starting my intern year, some things you can start working on now and some less commonly discussed but very important parts of your job
It’s that time of year and yet again I’ve seen plenty of incoming interns asking what they can do to prepare. I wrote this post to share some tips for all of the not-exactly-medical stuff I wish I knew before I started intern year and to share a few things that interns can do before they start to feel like they’re well prepared for the long white coat. As a quick background, I was a surgery intern in the first half of the 2010s and much of this is informed by my notes and memories from that time in addition to everything I’ve learned since, particularly about professionalism both in medicine and in the business world with work I’ve done in the healthcare startup arena. I’m also not perfect and very much a work in progress myself and, outside the intern-specific items here, I try to do most of these things myself—sometimes more successfully than others. So take what you think are good ideas here, leave what you don’t think would be useful, and if anyone else has anything to add, please feel free to chime in. TL;DR: Intern year is hard. Here are some not-so-commonly-disucussed tips that may help.
1. Being an effective intern is, at its core, about being responsible, effective and reliable.
Your day to day responsibilities are nearly always dominated by the need to get things done and to do so in a manner that lets your other team members focus on their own roles and responsibilities. What about learning clinical medicine? You'll learn plenty and fast. Don't worry. When reading through these tips below, view them from an angle of “would this help me develop an effective system for making sure everything gets done and nothing falls through the cracks?”
2. For your in-the-hospital life as well as your outside-the-hospital life, remember this one thing: you will forget.
You will be busy and have responsibilities in a way you likely have never experienced before. This will naturally make the day-to-day things in life more difficult than you’re used to so developing ways to outsmart your forgetful brain will pay off.
3. You are a professional now. This is your career. You’re in it.
It’s easy to view your life as a trainee as a sort of advanced student or something in between a student and a “real doctor”. But that’s not true. View yourself as a professional building your career. Your intern year is just the first step of that career. You’re a real doctor as much as any other now.
4. One of the hardest things about being an intern or resident is dealing with feelings of isolation. It will take work to actively manage and overcome those feelings.
Imposter syndrome, feeling like you don’t know what you’re doing or that you don’t belong, feeling like you’re not the person you used to be, that you don’t have time to do all the “normal” things that other people do, thinking your co-residents or attendings think you’re dumb, feeling that you don’t have time for friends/family/hobbies, ruminating on “what if I screw this up and hurt a patient?”, or “this doesn’t matter -- the patient is going to XX or YY anyway” etc are all common feelings and they all share the same undercurrent of feeling isolated in one way or another. You need to actively work to find ways to confront and overcome these feelings or else they will control you. When they control you, you’re burned out. It may not seem like it at first, but nearly every single tip below is geared towards avoiding feelings of isolation. Feeling like you’re not in control of your finances will make you feel isolated. Feeling like you’re losing a handle on your relationships will make you feel isolated. Feeling like you’re behind on your email and haven’t done all the little things in life you need to do will make you feel isolated. Read these tips through that lens.
What you can do before you start
1. Organize and update your contacts. Seriously.
Here are some ways it can help you maintain and grow your relationships.
Use the ‘Notes’ feature in your contacts for everyone important in your life and all the new people meet.
You will forget your friends’ kids names and ages. Every time you get a birth announcement or see a post on social media, go to your friend’s contact, edit the notes and put in the info. Then, when you reach out to your friends, ask about their kids...by name.
You will forget your friends’ boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband/partner’s name, especially if you’ve never met them or haven’t seen them for a long time. Put their name in your friends’ card with a note like “Started seeing Sam in June 2020, he/she’s a software engineer”. Someone you know gets married? Add their wedding date to their card.
You will forget how you knew people in your contacts. Met at a conference? Was a medical student on your heme onc service? Friend-of-a-friend you met at a wedding? Someone shares an interest you have? Make a note in their contact card. Tip: these notes are for you, not them. So if someone reminds you of an actor, or didn’t stop talking about bitcoin, make a note. It will help because you will forget.
Tag your contacts or add them to lists and use those tags/lists to your advantage.
Make lists or tags for your family, your medical school friends, your undergrad friends, your coresidents, your attendings, your medical students, the hospitals you’ll be working at, etc. Put those lists or tags to use like this:
You will forget to stay in touch with people important to you. Set reminders in your phone for every week / two weeks / month, etc to pull up a list (family, medical school friends, etc), pick someone on that list you haven’t chatted with in a while and text them and ask them how they’re doing. Aim to start a conversation, ask about what’s happening in their life. Texts are more personal and meaningful than liking a post on social media or sharing a meme. Initiating conversations with your friends and family will help you feel connected and will increase the likelihood they reach out to you.
Don’t label your medical students like “MS3 Laura” or “Sub-I Juan”, etc. Label them with their full name and treat them like the colleagues they are. Put them on a list, clear it out next year if you want, but don’t treat them as “MS3 XXX“ or “MS4 YYY”. I’m sure you remember feeling like a nameless/faceless medical student at times in school and I’m sure you didn’t love it. So don’t repeat that behavior. Add a note or two about them while you’re at it. Take enough interest in your medical students to treat them well. You never know when or how you’ll cross paths with them again.
If you rotate through different hospitals, you will forget which “ED” or “PACU” or “nursing station 3rd floor” numbers are which. Tag them or put them on a list. It’ll make finding them when you need them much easier.
2. Use a good note taking app and a good task manager app to help with both your in-hospital life and your outside-of-the-hospital life.
Here are some ways to use a notes app.
Make a note for each rotation you’re on. Add in any unstructured tips as they come up, like “Send all of Dr. X’s patients home with Y”, “Use the call room in the basement outside of the locker room, passcode 1234”, “Park in the X lot on the weekends”, “Dr. A likes to manage Z with Y”, “The case manager, NAME, usually sits at the computer behind the 2nd floor nurses station”, etc. Don't overthink them, just write them down when they come up. Review those notes the next time you rotate through because you will forget all those little things and they will help you in the future.
Create a master grocery list of all things you typically get at the grocery store. Share it with a roommate/partner so they can keep it updated too. That way if you ever stop to pick something up, you can review the list to make sure there’s nothing you’ll forget.
Make master lists for other things in your life too like “packing for a conference”, “packing for a family trip”, “Target/Wal-Mart household master list” so you can quickly review anytime something comes up so you minimize the chance of forgetting something
Make notes for all of the other stuff you have to manage in your life like your car, your apartment/house, your loans, etc and update them every time you work on that thing. Change your loan repayment? Add it to the note. Have to get your brakes fixed? Add to the note where you got it done, how much it cost, etc. Talk to your landlord about fixing the shower? Add it to the note. Have to call the medical board to sort something out with a license? Add it to the note.
I like two note apps on iOS: Bear for personal notes since it’s fast and has great tagging and Apple’s Notes app for shared notes
Pick a good task manager app and use it for all the things in your life that aren’t your day-to-day work
Cousin getting married and you can go to the wedding? Make tasks to ensure your time off, book your travel, buy a gift, rent a hotel room, etc. Then put all the relevant info into your note because...you will forget.
Pandemic is over and you get to present a poster at a conference? Make tasks to review your draft with your coauthors, print your poster, book your travel, submit your reimbursement, etc. Then put all the relevant info into a note. Otherwise, you’ll forget.
I like Things and have also liked OmniFocus. There is a ton of content on how to set one of these things up for productivity so review it and use it YouTube search
3. Take charge of your finances
When I was an intern, I figured all I had to do was pay my loans and not go into more debt. I wish I had done the following instead:
Read these two books: The White Coat Investor and I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Both are very good and have different strengths. The WCI is directly applicable to you and will help educate you in ways medical school didn’t about your financial future. IWTYTBR is much more of a “millennial” book but it’s very good for explaining big concepts and for providing a system to set yourself up for success. They’re both easy and relatively quick reads and don’t require any financial background. WCI is fine as an e-book but IWTY has a bunch of dialog boxes that make the e-book a poor experience, get a physical new or used copy.
Set up a budget. I use and swear by You Need A Budget. It’s the best money I spend every year. Their system is easy and straightforward and it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
4. Update your CV now and keep it updated regularly
You will no doubt have to share your CV with someone at some point whether it’s for fellowship or a research project or any number of things. The time to work on it is not when someone says “can you share your CV?” -- that’s a recipe for omissions, typos and mistakes. The only thing you should be doing every time you share your CV is giving it a quick once-over to make sure you don’t spot any mistakes and to make sure it’s up to date There are plenty of templates online and your training institution may even have a preferred format somewhere on their website. Your ERAS application will give you a good head start but most of your medical school CV lines will either be condensed or removed all together unless something was particularly notable. You can almost always find example CVs online from senior people in your department or institution with a quick web search -- use a few as a guide Set a reminder / task to update your CV at regular intervals. Quarterly is good, yearly at least. Save new versions of it each time so you can refer to the old ones if you need to and name them in a way to let you know you’re always sharing the most recent version, e.g., LASTNAME_FIRST NAME_CV_2020-06. You will forget if the one marked “CV” only is the right one you want to share.
5. Subscribe to a couple of newsletters to stay up to date with the world outside of your hospital
For general news, your preferred newspaper probably has a daily email briefing. Otherwise, Axios AM/PM and Politico’s Playbook are both very good quick reads to stay up to date with current events.
Keep up with healthcare news so you know what’s going on in the healthcare system broadly
Politico’s Pulse and Morning eHealth are both very good and have quick facts at the beginning if you just want to skim
Rock Health’s Rock Weekly is a decent summary of each week in the healthcare startup and technology world
Pick a few of these and aim to get through them each day. If you can’t get through them, unsubscribe to the ones you think are least relevant to you so you never feel “behind” in staying up with the news. You can breeze through the few you pick in a few minutes here and there throughout the day -- don’t make it any harder than that to feel like you’re “up to date” on the news.
General tips for maintaining relationships
For any romantic relationship, do these things if you don’t already:
1. Make a rule: no phones at the table. * Don’t put your phone on the table face-up. Don’t put your phone on the table face-down. Keep your phone off the table and set to silent. * Focus on the person in front of you and show them you care about them by paying attention to them. We all know what it feels like to be with someone more interested in their screen than in interacting with you. If you’re on call, say “sorry, I’m on call, I may have to check something here and there”, apologize if you do check it and then put your phone away. 2. Make another rule: no phones in bed * Same principle as at the table. Want to feel like two strangers just passing through life who just so happen to share the same bed? Wake up, reach for your phone and scroll through your feeds like a zombie before getting out of bed. Same idea before bed. Your phone can wait. 3. If you’re at the point where you share finances, set a regular meeting to review how you’re doing. * Ideally, this is a “red, yellow or green” meeting and should only take a few minutes. Money can be a big conflict issue for relationships and avoiding talking about money is a surefire way to eventually turn to conflict. If you have a budget and shared goals, this should be quick. * A monthly check-in is good. Create a recurring calendar event, attach the shared notes or spreadsheet document you use, add your goals for the meeting and honor the meeting when it comes around.
Eat with people who are important to you, if you can.
There’s something about sharing a meal that’s special in human nature. Friends who are important to you? Partners? Mentors you’re looking to get to know better after you’ve had a few chats? Try to eat with them when you can. And keep your phone off the table.
The same idea works with your coresidents and teams in the hospital. Eat with them if you can. Eating with others builds, strengthens and maintains relationships. Keep your phone off the table if you can.
Think about it this way: who would you consider a better mentor, the person you’ve met with a few times in their office where they sit behind their desk and you in front of them while they glance at their computer screen every time it pings or the person who’s invited you to get coffee or food and they kept their phone away the whole time? Now turn that around and realize the power of the message you can send to people you care about by trying to eat with them and show them they have your full attention.
1. Learn to think about tasks as a continuum from start to finish instead of as a binary 'done/not done'.
Let’s say you have to order a CT for a patient of yours.
Instead of marking the task as complete the second you place the order for the CT, recognize that the whole task is not just placing the order, but also knowing when your patient is going down to the scanner, when they’re back, when the CT is up in the system, when the report is up and also that you’ve looked at the CT yourself and have read the report.
When your senior or attending asks you, “Did patient X get their CT?”, a not-so-great answer is “Yes” or “No”. A better answer is “they’re down at the scanner now” or “the scan’s done but it hasn’t been read yet. Want to look at it?” or “Yes, it’s negative for XXX but did show YYY”.
Whatever system you eventually adopt for your day-to-day task management in the hospital, whether it’s a list or index cards or a printed signout sheet, make sure you’re tracking both when orders go in, when they’re complete, when they’re cancelled, etc. Just marking things as complete once you place the order isn’t enough.
2. Signout is taken, not given.
What I mean by this is that when you take signout, that means you’re accepting responsibility for those patients. They might be your patients, you might be cross-covering, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that when those patients are your responsibility, it’s your responsibility to get what you need to know to take care of them. Is someone signing out to you in a hurry and not giving you what you need? Ask them for that relevant past medical history, those exam findings, and so on. It’s not enough for the person handing off to say “we’re worried about x or y”, you’ve got to follow that up with “in case of x or y, is there a plan for what the team wants me to do?”. Get the answers you need. A lot of covering patients on call is playing defense whereas the primary team generally plays offense. But that doesn’t mean you can play defense in isolation. The last thing you want is for the primary team to feel surprised by your choices.
* Here’s two ways for the above example to go when turning the patients you were covering back over the next day or whatever: 1. You: “For patient so-and-so, you said you were worried about x or y. Y happened.” Them: “What did you do?”. You: “Z”. Them: “Shit, my attending’s not gonna like that”. 2. You “Y happened so I did A like you said, it went fine and here’s the current status”. Them: “Great, thanks” * See the difference?
Along the lines of taking responsibility for those patients, that means that if you couldn’t get the information you needed at signout then you have to go and see those patients and get the information you need yourself.
You’ll hear this idea said a bunch of different ways like “trust but verify”, “trust no one” and your comfort level will change over the year as you become more confident and comfortable. But always error on the side of going to see the patient and getting your own information at the start.
3. If you will be miserable without something when you’re in the hospital, bring it with you. You won’t reliably be able to find it at the hospital every time you need it.
Need coffee otherwise you turn into a demon? Bring it with you. You never know when you’ll get caught doing something and won’t be able to run to the cafeteria for your fix.
On call overnight and know you need food so you don’t go insane? Bring it with you. Here’s a hospital food rule: never rely on the hospital's ability to feed you. The hospital will let you down sooner or later, I guarantee it.
Know you always get cold on call? The day you forget your jacket/sweatshirt is the day you won’t be able to find a spare blanket in the hospital to save your life. Put a backup in your locker (if your hospital respects you enough to give you one).
Miscellaneous productivity, professionalism and lifestyle tips
1. Aim to “touch” everything only once
Example: your physical mail. You know, the stuff made of dead trees that accumulates in that box you check every once in a while. For every piece of mail you get, you should either trash it, file it, or act on it. Don’t touch it until you’re ready to do one of those things.
Example: your email. Either delete it, archive it, reply to it or do the thing it’s telling you to do right away. Don’t fall into the trap of using your inbox as a to-do list -- that’s a recipe to get burned. Use a task manager for your to-do list and aim to keep your inbox at zero. Realize that email’s true power is communication and use it as a communication tool and nothing else.
I’ll use the example of going to a wedding again as something to “touch once”. Aim to accomplish all the tasks at once or at least create tasks and reminders to complete those tasks all in one go. Respond to the RSVP, create the calendar invite with all the information from the invitation, share the calendar event with your date, book your travel, book your hotel, book your rental car, buy your gift from the registry and set a reminder to get your suit/dress cleaned a few weeks ahead, etc.
2. Lean to use your calendar as a tool
Professionals in the “real world” tend to live and die by their calendars. Some people, especially many senior people in medicine, don’t manage their own calendars. But you manage yours. With it you can:
Make sure all events—even small ones like dates or errands you want to run—have locations so all you have to do is click the location for directions
Send invites to friends / family / coworkers for anything you talk about doing that has the relevant info
Make reminders for yourself to prepare for upcoming events, i.e.., don’t count on seeing your parents’/spouses’/whomever’s birthday “coming up” to remind you to get a gift or send a card. Create an event two weeks before their birthday that says “Buy Mom a birthday card”, set it to repeat yearly and buy a card when it comes up, send it a few days later and don’t worry that it won’t get there in time.
3. Learn to use email well
Ever get an email from someone and feel their tone was terse, condescending or rude? Don’t be that person. Error on the side being polite and professional and writing in complete sentences without textspeak. It’s not hard — you type fast, even with your thumbs, I’m sure of it.
Learn to communicate effectively. Keep it short but not terse. State why you’re writing to someone, be clear if you’re asking a question, and think about it this way: “How am I making it as easy as possible for this person to understand why I’m emailing them and do what I’m asking them to do?
Don’t use a canned salutation like “Best, NAME” or even worse: “Best, INITIALS”. Use your salutation to continue to communicate your message and remember that politeness and professionalism extend through your signature.
I don’t know why “Best,” is so common in medicine but it’s meaningless, unthoughtful, inherently passive aggressive and I seriously read it as if the person writing it were signing off by saying “Go f*ck yourself,”. Same thing for “Regards,” and its ilk, any abbreviation like “vr,” or any form of cutesy quote.
Write your salutation fresh each time. Did you ask someone for something? Say “Thank you for your help”. Are you writing someone senior to you and want to sound somewhat formal? “Sincerely,” never goes out of style. Are you sharing information and essentially writing a memo? Use “Please let me know if you have any questions”. Your salutation is communication, treat it that way.
Sign with your name, not your initials. Signing with initials is a common way senior people will try to remind you they’re senior to you. If you do it, it’s like you’re trying to prove you’re a Cool Guy Big Shot too. It never comes across well -- even for those senior people. Initials are terse. Lowercase initials are even terser. Although they may look different at first glance, all initial signatures functionally come across as ‘FU’. Write your name.
If it’s a few rounds back and forth of email, it’s normal drop salutations and signatures and treat email more like texting. Keep using complete sentences without textspeak, though. I promise you’ll come across better that way.
Use the ‘signature’ feature of your email client to share your professional details and contact information
Your institution (not department) will hopefully have a format for this that’s standardized and includes minimal or no graphics. If it doesn't, then I feel sorry for all the inevitable IT headaches you will eventually endure at your institution since they clearly underfund and undervalue contemporary IT and professional services. It’s the wild west out there so find some good examples of clean, professional signature formats and make one for yourself.
Note: this signature lives below your salutation and sign off. It’s essentially the letterhead for your email that lets your recipient fill in the details you may not otherwise provide like your department, mailing address or fax number. It’s not a replacement for signing off of your communication professionally.
Never use bold, italics, underlines or different font sizes in your emails. They only make emails harder to read and jumble your message.
If you want to highlight something, put it in a numbered or bulleted list.
If you can’t communicate what you want with 2-3 bulleted points, then email is not the right medium to use. Do you like reading long emails? Of course you don’t. Write a memo, attach it as a PDF or shared doc and use the email to tell your recipients to review the attachment.
You will eventually, in some way or another, ask someone to introduce you to one of their contacts and or refer you for something. Learn how to write a good forwardable email that utilizes the double opt-in concept and how to make it easy on the person doing you the favor. Read more here, here and here.
While you’re at it, understand the power of using CC and BCC to communicate effectively.
Aim to answer all emails written directly to you within 24 hours.
If you can’t respond fully right away, respond briefly saying you got the note and that you’ll work on it and get back to them. Set a reminder or create a task to do or review the thing and get back to them once you’ve done it.
Do you hate being left on read in text? You do it in email every time you don’t respond to someone in a timely fashion. It’s better to share a quick, “I got it and I’m working on it message” then not replying until days or weeks later.
4. Don’t let someone else’s negative energy and/or anxiety transfer to you
You will frequently experience things like this in the hospital:
A co-resident disagrees with a management decision made at rounds and mentions that so-and-so is an idiot. So-and-so probably isn’t an idiot. Your co-resident probably isn’t an idiot either. Form your own opinions from your own experiences.
A nurse pages you with a tone that says “THIS IS REALLY BAD”. It might be, go and see. And on your way, stay calm and go over the steps in your head of what you’d do if it is, in fact, REALLY BAD. But don’t freak yourself out before you even get to the room. You won’t be able to make decisions with a clear head if you’re already worked up.
You’re a surgery intern and all your patients are normally on the med-surg floor. Every once in a while, one goes somewhere like heme-onc if the med-surg floor is full. Someone on your team says something like “great, now they’re going to screw up our patient”. Recognize that that floor isn’t full of terrible nurses and may just have less experiences with lines and drains and that the best thing you can do is go down there, talk to the nurse and say “here’s what we want to be called about” and “this thing may look bad but it usually isn’t and we don’t need to be called, here’s why”, and so on. Doing things like this will mean you get fewer calls. Fewer calls are good.
Your attending is having a bad day and you’re not enjoying your interactions with them. Don’t let that make you have a bad day too. Medicine is hard enough as it is, stick to your own bad days instead adopting other people’s. Then pull up your friend list, text a buddy and feel better.
5. Don’t neglect your physical health. Trying to eat well and stay active are even more important when you’re insanely busy.
The #1 thing you can do to help your waistline is cook your own food and pack your own meals. It doesn’t matter what you cook or how good of a cook you are, as long as you’re aiming to pack meals that an adult would eat, it will be healthier than takeout and cafeteria food. It’s better for portion control, you control all the ingredients and you get a sense of satisfaction for being on the ball. It’s better in every way. I know it’s not realistic to always prep and pack your own food on the busiest of services but you should try to hit at least a percentage like 25% or 50% of your meals. There are no lost causes in your own health. It will be hard to exercise and work out. You should still try to do it anyway. You will go long stretches without exercising at times. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Every day is a chance to do the thing you want to do so get back out there.
6. If your social profiles are private, consider doing some housekeeping and making them public.
Instead of thinking about them as a liability to be that needs to be hidden, think about them as a narrative you can control. Nothing is private on the internet. Even your private profile. You never know who knows someone you know or what may get screenshotted and shared down the line. It’s natural to run a web search on anyone you’re meeting for a date, interviewing with for a job, or researching in general. When you search your own name, what comes up? What do you think when you’re searching for someone and they have a private page? Do you ever click on a few links to see professional stuff from LinkedIn, and then some social pages to see what else you learn? So does everyone else. Use your social pages to put forward a version of you that shows who you are, shows some interests true to yourself, makes you seem like a totally normal and reliable person (which is exactly what any potential date, partner, fellowship director or hiring manager is asking themselves about you) and doesn’t share enough information to let a patient show up at your door. Medicine lags behind other industries with people still commonly hiding behind private pages. In the tech world, it’s more strange to not have a public page. A private page says more about you that you might want to hide red flags whereas a public page says “go ahead and look, you won’t find any red flags”. One is much more powerful than the other.
Closing and something to read
When you view your professional life, it’s natural to view your professional relationships as being a binary one between patient and physician. That’s certainly essential and certainly important, but as a professional you now have relationships to consider with so many more types of people: co-residents, faculty in your department, faculty in other departments, administrators, support staff, medical students, and so on. Just as you had to learn how to work with patients, you will have to learn to work with all of the other people in your professional life. Truly effective professionals will treat all interactions importantly and give thought and consideration to each one. All these interactions and relationships will all affect your day-to-day experience, your well-being and, ultimately, your professional experience. You will find yourself being not just responsible for your patients, but also for yourself, your career and your relationships. It takes effort to succeed in all of those areas. And even with effort, sometimes you’ll be winning in an area and losing in others. And in a few months it will be different -- that’s just life. I want you to consider looking outside of books and resources written specifically for physicians when you’re trying to tackle these issues inside the hospital and out. Medicine is a much-smaller-than-you-realize bubble with a long history of personality-driven examples of “that’s just the way we do it” or “that’s how we’ve always done it”. There are good books about medicine out there, to be sure, but you’ll benefit more professionally by learning from the wide world outside of hospitals since there are quite simply many more successful and accomplished people who’ve written great resources for all aspects of professional life that medicine tends to ignore. I’d recommend you start with this book: Andy Grove’s High Output Management (a review by another Valley titan here). Andy escaped communist Hungary, taught himself English and rose to be CEO of Intel and went on to be a sage of Silicon Valley before he passed. This book is a how-to guide for how to be an effective professional in an organization (hint: you're now a professional in an organization) and if you’ve enjoyed this post at all, you’ll love this book. You may think that this book applies to ‘managers’ and ‘business’ and not medicine but you couldn’t be more wrong. Although it was probably written around the time you were born, nearly everything in this book is a lesson that directly applies to your professional life in medicine and when you start seeing it, you’ll feel like you’re in The Matrix. Congratulations! You've worked hard to get here. Be proud of yourself, your degree, your long white coat and be the best doctor you can be.
It started with a sign. It stood at the entrance of the small community simple but clear: Welcome to Freetown. Enter only if you respect the Life, Liberty and Property of all here. Murderers, thieves and tyrants will be shot. The message was a practical one, not inspired by history or ideology but by clarity of purpose. It enumerated the things that would be defended with deadly force and warned away those that would harm them. As time went by and neighbours from time to time suggested alterations or additions to the sign it was always argued that brevity had power. It was unnecessary to explain in detail all the different types of property owned in the community and how it could be destroyed or stolen. It was understood by all what harm to life meant, what need was there to specify differences in degree between murder and assault. Liberty being a more philosophical concept was always harder to define, but all agreed that a good rule of thumb was that if someone came around telling anybody what to do with their property or their life shouldn’t be welcomed and, if telling escalated to threats or orders should promptly be shown the door. In any case even given the small number of neighbours at the time there was never unanimity to change it. If it’s difficult to get a handful of people to agree to anything, it could only get harder as their number grew. Certainly many would have liked to add more rules. Most in the community were Christian and wouldn’t have looked askance at the ten commandments… but freedom of religion seemed to most an important part of Liberty. Remembering the Sabbath, honouring your parents and not coveting could surely be left to individual consciences, whereas stealing and killing were pretty clearly community problems. So after many arguments Life, Liberty and Property remained as the common denominators. In time it grew to be a social contract of sorts, first in an unspoken, implicit way, but later it was written in the rules of the homeowners association which all new buyers and builders had to sign. So in many ways it was far more real a social contract and far more binding an agreement than any constitution ever approved by “representatives” but never actually accepted by the people, never mind all the people. The sign also had a selective effect on new residents. Some did not like the idea of violence, even defensive violence and would rather not buy a house or live in a place that so overtly threatened. The idea of many of your neighbours being armed simply did not appeal to many. Others did not believe in private property, but those that would have unlawfully occupied empty houses thought twice when they saw the sign and headed for easier pickings. Of course there are plenty of rich communists and their lack of respect for private property never stopped them from personally owning it... but this was no luxury community, at least when it started, so politicians and bureaucrats were rare. The first big change came in the police strike and riots. As cops were increasingly paid less, later and in depreciating currency they started to protest more, work less and turn back to some old ways of extortion. Mostly they just did not answer calls, but sometimes when they did they were expensive and less than helpful. So the community was quick to become self-reliant for protection, hiring a private guard for the main entrance and quickly coordinating a group of armed neighbours as backup should it be needed. When the first riots came more than a dozen neighbours stood behind the guard with enough weaponry in plain sight to deter anything short of an army. So the looting passed them by. Car burnings, break-ins, assaults and all types of chaos and vandalism happened in nearby neighbourhoods. The police were busy protesting for back pay. People took note. Similar signs started going up in many communities that had seen the difference between trusting authority and trusting your neighbours. One neighbourhood that actually shared the main road and access, simply asked to merge. Over the years the community would grow to ten times its size. However that was dwarfed by how far its example reached as thousands of neighbourhoods followed it. Actually the neighbours simply could not tell if they were being emulated… or if other people had just followed their own logic and reached similar common sense solutions to simple problems. The second big change came with the banking crisis. As savings were wiped out first by deflation then by inflation the community, just as the rest of the country, had to start saving again from almost nothing. This time they would not make the same mistake again, they would not work tirelessly for years while trusting the government and banks to secure the currency and their savings. They began to use Bitcoin and physical gold for their savings so that they could be personally responsible for the security of their wealth. They discovered another advantage of personal responsibility: privacy. Eventually most trade was done in hard assets and again the example spread far. Government money, fiat money was only used to pay government services… and as the first depreciated the second kept losing quality. “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” well fiat money most definitely belonged to the government and they were welcome to have it. Some attempts were made by tax collectors to exact payments in hard assets and in some places they were allowed to do so. Others resisted with more or less force. Soon they learned which places to avoid for fear of tarring and feathering, or worse. Anyone who wanted to keep their property from the hands of the ever more rapacious and bankrupt government also learnt the lesson: keep your real assets in a Free Zone or lose them. It’s not that the government couldn’t muster, if pressed, the force to enter the a Free Zone and loot… but it was rare for a reason: Agents were unwilling to take risks for the meager pay they were receiving so the only way to make it worth their while was to let them share in the spoils. Any illusions that they were law enforcers went out the window after the first few times that happened. Honest cops quit. The ones still willing to loot were viewed by most citizens as what they were, a violent gang. They were too few and too cowardly to face any resistance. Police reform would come too late. Private security backed by citizen militias would prove cheaper both in peaceful and violent times, as well as far more respectful of the Life, Liberty and Property of its customers. Tax income withered. The death spiral was too fast and paralysing for the government to stop. The government would continue to pretend to offer services and a few people would pretend to pay for them. It would become obvious that there was nothing magical about a monopolistic administration that allowed it to build roads or schools more efficiently than local institutions, companies or communities. In fact it was hard to imagine how anybody had thought that the monopoly could ever do so with better quality than what consumers could expect from competing providers. Some people rejected this way of doing things and formed their own socialistic communes, syndicates and associations. Many saw a kibbutz revival in the making. Did people in the Free zones object? No. Live and let live. If they want communal property they were welcome to share theirs… as long as they did not try to take ours. Unsurprisingly most people preferred not to live in a commune. Localism, self-reliance and secure property rights eventually brought unprecedented prosperity, well-being and progress. But that was later, after we survived the invasion...
So, I have a bit of a quandary....Can I get some objective insight, please?
This got much longer than I thought it would.... I'm applying for a job with an international NPO in the tech industry. To call them "privacy focused" would not be overstating things. It's entirely what they do. I found out about them because it's entirely what they do. Their work is used extensively, although by no means exclusively, by criminals. It's designed for political activists, dissidents, anyone who might have need of tech that comes pre-loaded with all the right tools, can run on damn near any machine and is basically impervious to forensic analysis. It's just been sort of hijacked by people who use it to buy and sell real and counterfeit drugs, both outright illicit and pharmaceutically manufactured; people who steal and sell identities, forged identity documents, social security numbers, credit card data, RFID skimmers in every flavor to steal said data, credit histories, tax returns, counterfeit cash in all the major denominations, stolen/cracked/keygen'd software, hardware, you name it. There are people who will no shit use stolen credit cards to buy you whatever you want and have it delivered to your front door - or wherever else you want it to go - for a fraction of what it costs. If it has value somewhere or is worth something to someone, there are circles in which it's available to buy, sell, trade, or steal. And a large chunk of the people buying and selling these insanely illegal and illicit products are using this NPO's tech to do it. I have no way of knowing how they feel about that fact. They can't possibly Not know....right?? A simple reddit search of their name immediately brings up like 7 different subreddits that all revolve around these illegal activities. Only one of which contains their name in the . It's super popular. Which brings me to my issue. Those activities are precisely how I know about their existence. Those criminals are my friends and cohorts. I'm not one for fraud, frankly, but I'm hardly a passive observer in those spaces. I regularly teach people who stumble into those spaces how to more effectively use these tools to stay under the radar. How do I explain to these people that I know their work and am familiar enough with it's bugs and glitches to be worth investing in, first of all, despite having zero technical qualifications. But more importantly, how do I sidestep the question, "So, how did you come to be so proficient in this particular collection of tools, given your complete and total lack of technical qualifications?" I'm sure they'll ask it more politely than that. But they Will ask it. They can't Not. It's not something people just randomly stumble across and then spend the next several years of their life playing with just for kicks. It's too specific for that. People who use it, need it. And I do not live in a place where it makes sense for me to know it as well as I do unless I'm doing something illegal with it. Which, as it happens, I am. Not to mention...I have zero paper trail for the years I've been paying my bills in cash (because ComEd and the mortgage company don't take bitcoin...yet). It's crossed my mind to just disclose my activities. Don't worry. I immediately remembered how many felonies I've committed or been privy to others committing and promptly discarded that plan. Or more accurately, I remembered that I actually Can't remember how many felonies I've committed or been privy to others committing thanks entirely to this tech. Like I said, I have no idea how they feel about people using their work like we do. They may find it reprehensible and disgraceful and call the Feds. I doubt it. Remember, privacy-focused. I'm disinclined to think they'd be very big fans of the Feds, just sort of on principle. Even still. I worry they won't respond well to the truth. It's also occurred to me to simply point out that they are, in fact, actively developing tech designed for those who have a rather extreme need for privacy, and that while I have very much appreciated the time and dedication they've put into their work, so much so that the opportunity to work for them has very much been the reason I've been pulling myself together and actively working on such professional things as a resume and a portfolio, I feel that to disclose what it was I needed to go to such lengths to secure my privacy for would effectively render such measures obsolete. I figure if I can get this out of the way in my cover letter and supply a small portfolio of my work showing my competence, if nothing else, that might be the best way to come at it. I don't think I could handle it if they showed an interest in me and interviewed me and then told me they couldn't hire me because I've been abusing their work for years. At least if they just don't respond at all to my submission, I can pretend it was my portfolio and lack of technical qualifications that prevented me from getting the job, you know? Thoughts? Suggestions? Advice? Help?
What Is The Dark Web? How Can You Access It? What Will You Find?
Dark Net Hacker DarkNetHacker.net What is the dark web? How to access it and what you'll find The dark web is part of the internet that isn't visible to search engines and requires the use of an anonymizing browser called Tor to be accessed. Dark web definition The dark web is a part of the internet that isn't indexed by search engines. You've no doubt heard talk of the “dark web” as a hotbed of criminal activity — and it is. Researchers Daniel Moore and Thomas Rid of King's College in London classified the contents of 2,723 live dark web sites over a five-week period in 2015 and found that 57% host illicit material. A 2019 study, Into the Web of Profit, conducted by Dr. Michael McGuires at the University of Surrey, shows that things have become worse. The number of dark web listings that could harm an enterprise has risen by 20% since 2016. Of all listings (excluding those selling drugs), 60% could potentially harm enterprises. You can buy credit card numbers, all manner of drugs, guns, counterfeit money, stolen subscription credentials, hacked Netflix accounts and software that helps you break into other people’s computers. Buy login credentials to a $50,000 Bank of America account for $500. Get $3,000 in counterfeit $20 bills for $600. Buy seven prepaid debit cards, each with a $2,500 balance, for $500 (express shipping included). A “lifetime” Netflix premium account goes for $6. You can hire hackers to attack computers for you. You can buy usernames and passwords. But not everything is illegal, the dark web also has a legitimate side. For example, you can join a chess club or BlackBook, a social network described as the “the Facebook of Tor.” Note: This post contains links to dark web sites that can only be accessed with the Tor browser, which can be downloaded for free at https://www.torproject.org. Deep web vs. dark web: What’s the difference? The terms “deep web” and “dark web” are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Deep web refers to anything on the internet that is not indexed by and, therefore, accessible via a search engine like Google. Deep web content includes anything behind a paywall or requires sign-in credentials. It also includes any content that its owners have blocked web crawlers from indexing. Medical records, fee-based content, membership websites, and confidential corporate web pages are just a few examples of what makes up the deep web. Estimates place the size of the deep web at between 96% and 99% of the internet. Only a tiny portion of the internet is accessible through a standard web browser—generally known as the “clear web”. RECOMMENDED WHITEPAPERS 2020 Modern Backup Buyers’ Guide Business continuity for remote workers 10 Reasons Why 15,000+ Businesses Point DNS to Cisco Umbrella The dark web is a subset of the deep web that is intentionally hidden, requiring a specific browser—Tor—to access, as explained below. No one really knows the size of the dark web, but most estimates put it at around 5% of the total internet. Again, not all the dark web is used for illicit purposes despite its ominous-sounding name. Dark web tools and services that present enterprise risk The Into the Web of Profit report identified 12 categories of tools or services that could present a risk in the form of a network breach or data compromise: Infection or attacks, including malware, distributed denial of service (DDoS) and botnets Access, including remote access Trojans (RATs), keyloggers and exploits Espionage, including services, customization and targeting Support services such as tutorials Credentials Phishing Refunds Customer data Operational data Financial data Intellectual property/trade secrets Other emerging threats The report also outlined three risk variables for each category: Devaluing the enterprise, which could include undermining brand trust, reputational damage or losing ground to a competitor Disrupting the enterprise, which could include DDoS attacks or other malware that affects business operations Defrauding the enterprise, which could include IP theft or espionage that impairs a company's ability to compete or causes a direct financial loss Dark web browser All this activity, this vision of a bustling marketplace, might make you think that navigating the dark web is easy. It isn’t. The place is as messy and chaotic as you would expect when everyone is anonymous, and a substantial minority are out to scam others. Accessing the dark web requires the use of an anonymizing browser called Tor. The Tor browser routes your web page requests through a series of proxy servers operated by thousands of volunteers around the globe, rendering your IP address unidentifiable and untraceable. Tor works like magic, but the result is an experience that’s like the dark web itself: unpredictable, unreliable and maddeningly slow. [ Is your data being sold? What you need to know about monitoring the dark web. | Get the latest from CSO by signing up for our newsletters. ] Still, for those willing to put up with the inconvenience, the dark web provides a memorable glimpse at the seamy underbelly of the human experience – without the risk of skulking around in a dark alley. Dark web search engine Dark web search engines exist, but even the best are challenged to keep up with the constantly shifting landscape. The experience is reminiscent of searching the web in the late 1990s. Even one of the best search engines, called Grams, returns results that are repetitive and often irrelevant to the query. Link lists like The Hidden Wiki are another option, but even indices also return a frustrating number of timed-out connections and 404 errors. Dark web sites Dark web sites look pretty much like any other site, but there are important differences. One is the naming structure. Instead of ending in .com or .co, dark web sites end in .onion. That’s “a special-use top level domain suffix designating an anonymous hidden service reachable via the Tor network,” according to Wikipedia. Browsers with the appropriate proxy can reach these sites, but others can’t. Dark web sites also use a scrambled naming structure that creates URLs that are often impossible to remember. For example, a popular commerce site called Dream Market goes by the unintelligible address of “eajwlvm3z2lcca76.onion.” Many dark websites are set up by scammers, who constantly move around to avoid the wrath of their victims. Even commerce sites that may have existed for a year or more can suddenly disappear if the owners decide to cash in and flee with the escrow money they’re holding on behalf of customers. Law enforcement officials are getting better at finding and prosecuting owners of sites that sell illicit goods and services. In the summer of 2017, a team of cyber cops from three countries successfully shut down AlphaBay, the dark web’s largest source of contraband, sending shudders throughout the network. But many merchants simply migrated elsewhere. The anonymous nature of the Tor network also makes it especially vulnerable to DDoS, said Patrick Tiquet, Director of Security & Architecture at Keeper Security, and the company’s resident expert on the topic. “Sites are constantly changing addresses to avoid DDoS, which makes for a very dynamic environment,” he said. As a result, “The quality of search varies widely, and a lot of material is outdated.” SALTED HASH Get a hands-on, inside look at the dark web | Salted Hash Ep 25 Commerce on the dark web The dark web has flourished thanks to bitcoin, the crypto-currency that enables two parties to conduct a trusted transaction without knowing each other’s identity. “Bitcoin has been a major factor in the growth of the dark web, and the dark web has been a big factor in the growth of bitcoin,” says Tiquet. Nearly all dark web commerce sites conduct transactions in bitcoin or some variant, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe to do business there. The inherent anonymity of the place attracts scammers and thieves, but what do you expect when buying guns or drugs is your objective? Dark web commerce sites have the same features as any e-retail operation, including ratings/reviews, shopping carts and forums, but there are important differences. One is quality control. When both buyers and sellers are anonymous, the credibility of any ratings system is dubious. Ratings are easily manipulated, and even sellers with long track records have been known to suddenly disappear with their customers’ crypto-coins, only to set up shop later under a different alias. Most e-commerce providers offer some kind of escrow service that keeps customer funds on hold until the product has been delivered. However, in the event of a dispute don’t expect service with a smile. It’s pretty much up to the buyer and the seller to duke it out. Every communication is encrypted, so even the simplest transaction requires a PGP key. Even completing a transaction is no guarantee that the goods will arrive. Many need to cross international borders, and customs officials are cracking down on suspicious packages. The dark web news site Deep.Dot.Web teems with stories of buyers who have been arrested or jailed for attempted purchases. SECURITY How the dark web has gone corporate Is the dark web illegal? We don’t want to leave you with the impression that everything on the dark web is nefarious or illegal. The Tor network began as an anonymous communications channel, and it still serves a valuable purpose in helping people communicate in environments that are hostile to free speech. “A lot of people use it in countries where there’s eavesdropping or where internet access is criminalized,” Tiquet said. If you want to learn all about privacy protection or cryptocurrency, the dark web has plenty to offer. There are a variety of private and encrypted email services, instructions for installing an anonymous operating system and advanced tips for the privacy-conscious. There’s also material that you wouldn’t be surprised to find on the public web, such as links to full-text editions of hard-to-find books, collections of political news from mainstream websites and a guide to the steam tunnels under the Virginia Tech campus. You can conduct discussions about current events anonymously on Intel Exchange. There are several whistleblower sites, including a dark web version of Wikileaks. Pirate Bay, a BitTorrent site that law enforcement officials have repeatedly shut down, is alive and well there. Even Facebook has a dark web presence. “More and more legitimate web companies are starting to have presences there,” Tiquet said. “It shows that they’re aware, they’re cutting edge and in the know.” There’s also plenty of practical value for some organizations. Law enforcement agencies keep an ear to the ground on the dark web looking for stolen data from recent security breaches that might lead to a trail to the perpetrators. Many mainstream media organizations monitor whistleblower sites looking for news. Staying on top of the hacker underground Keeper’s Patrick Tiquet checks in regularly because it’s important for him to be on top of what’s happening in the hacker underground. “I use the dark web for situational awareness, threat analysis and keeping an eye on what’s going on,” he said will. “I want to know what information is available and have an external lens into the digital assets that are being monetized – this gives us insight on what hackers are targeting.” If you find your own information on the dark web, there’s precious little you can do about it, but at least you’ll know you’ve been compromised. Bottom line: If you can tolerate the lousy performance, unpredictable availability, and occasional shock factor of the dark web, it’s worth a visit. Just don’t buy anything there.
Thai Nhat Minh | Stably: First of all, can you have a brief introduction about yourself as well as about Chromia? Henrik_hjelte, Sergelubkin Henrik Hjelte: Hello. My name is Henrik Hjelte. I am Co-Founder and CEO of Chromia. I have more than 30 years of experience in programming and a degree in Economics from Uppsala University. BTW economics and computers = blockchain, so finally found a job that fits me. I was introduced to the blockchain by the leader of the colored-coins project Alex Mizrahi in 2013 Colored coins project was a very influential thing It was the first way for user created tokens bolted on to the only blockchain at the time (almost) bitcoin We started ChromaWay 2014, with Or Perelman too, to explore if the world was interested in “tokens” and those kind of applications We worked with enterprise blockchain for some time, but now we are focused on Chromia, a new public platform for mainstream decentralized applications using relational blockchain technology. Ok, maybe I should tell something about Chromia and not myself too. Chromia is a better blockchain for building decentralized Apps. better because it follows the “normal worlds” way of managing data. A little history: I found a text/description to paste: Chromia is a brainchild of ChromaWay. ChromaWay has a long record of delivering pioneering projects around the world. We issued Euros on the Bitcoin blockchain with LHV bank, allowed investors to invest in startups in a wholly decentralized way with Funderbeam, digitized the title transfer process with the Swedish land registry, and mediated the green bond market. ChromaWay’s core team created the world’s first protocol to issue tokens already in 2012, when blockchain was called “bitcoin 2.0”. Then ChromaWay introduced the relational model to enterprise blockchains with a consortium database called Postchain. Now Postchain is going public as the foundation for Chromia, a better blockchain for building decentralised Apps. Chromia is a new public blockchain based on the idea of integrating traditional databases, Relational databases with blockchain security. Chromia is a general purpose blockchain with full smart contract capabilities, just that it is a lot easier to code, even complex applications. You code with an easy to learn new programming language that combines the power of SQL and normal languages but makes it secure in a blockchain context. Up to 1/10 the code-lines vs other blockchains. If you don’t believe me, check this blog (later, stay in the chat): https://blog.chromia.com/reasons-for-rell-compactness/ The aim of Chromia is to combine relational databases, which exist in every kind of organization, with blockchains. We want to provide a platform for our users to develop totally decentralized apps securely. Our goal is for Chromia to be seen as the number one infrastructure for decentralized applications. Think about it: blockchain is about managing data (in a shared context). And… What do we use to manage data? A Database! Serge: Sure! My name is Serge! And I work in Chromia marketing department. Also, I help coordinate various projects inside the company My background is in Economics and Marketing Thai Nhat Minh | Stably: Question 1️⃣ DApp is currently mainly concentrated in the field of games, and its life cycle is basically short, just like the Crypto Kitty is only hot for a while, how to dig the application of DApp in more fields and how to improve the utilization rate of DApp? u/henrik_hjelteu/sergelubkin Serge: Good one, let me answer Gaming is quite a challenging target because good UX is expected, it needs to be fast, responsive, etc. If we can do that, then we can also do all sorts of other stuff. Also, it lets us experiment with things without a lot of hassle, it’s easier to get users, and so on. It’s also a growing niche within blockchain. You can check our latest game, Mines of Dalarnia https://www.minesofdalarnia.com We also have Enterprise projects already, for example Green Assets Wallet https://greenassetswallet.org/about that already launched on the first Mainnet version called Bootstrap Net,we also have https://capchap.se built on our tech, more projects like non-profit review platform Impactoria, public land registries, medical projects and so on Also don’t forget about our fully decentralized social network/forum that is live already on the testnet https://testnet.chromunity.com. Thai Nhat Minh | Stably: Question 2️⃣ How will dapp face the world change after the epidemic? u/henrik_hjelteu/sergelubkin Henrik Hjelte: Nobody can say for sure, but maybe people will tend to be online more than offline, so demand on online products and dapps as well will increase. I just came in from an internal demo of a secret project we do, and it can be seen as a way to hang out online (a bit cryptic answer) There are also interesting use cases of dapps in the medical field. For example, we participated in the world-wide hackathon Hack for Sweden. Where our submission was to create an app on Chromia blockchain that increases the coordination between countries and hospitals especially during the hard time and COVID19. Chromia wants to help the European Union (and the world, but we saw problems in the EU…) and its citizens to provide transparency over the necessary medical and protective devices and appliances of which we see shortage during this emergency crisis. You can watch our promo here https://twitter.com/chromaway/status/1247557274337447938?s=20. For me it was a fun Hackathon too because for once I got the opportunity to code… I told everyone else I will not do any bossing… We try to continue this path on medical applications a bit. Thai Nhat Minh | Stably: Question 3️⃣ DApps are still not directly embedded in mobile phones like Apps at this moment, and DApps have also been flooded with bet content. How can guests increase the use of DApps and lower the threshold for using DApps? u/henrik_hjelteu/sergelubkin Serge: The answer is — better User Experience. We believe that in order for a DApp to be usable and become more widely accepted it has to feel like a normal App. A DApp needs to have quick transactions, scale well & shouldn’t require users to pay for each transaction. This is something that is possible now with using Chromia. It’s an extremely exciting time since we are going to see a new generation of DApps. On top of that, we think that we might have an ace coming up. We have built a game to demonstrate the powers and possibilities of Chromia. A little bit about the game: In Mines of Dalarnia (https://www.minesofdalarnia.com), players get to explore the vast expanses of interplanetary treasure mines. With an innovative Dalarnia Token system, players can purchase virtual mining plots, and put them up for rent into the community, allowing for real-estate tycoons to earn more Tokens. Mining plots can also undergo their own upgrades, making them more lucrative to explore, as well as a hot property for rental by miners. The game takes advantage of these NFT-based tokens to securely track exchanges, and provide a sense of ownership and wealth to players as they grow their mining and resource empire. Watch our trailer https://youtu.be/bDXKOp1Asqw and sign-up for the TestNet on the website! Thai Nhat Minh | Stably: Question 4️⃣ Many practitioners think that the main reason for restricting the development of DApp is “incomplete infrastructure”. How effective is the current “cross-chain” and “side-chain” solution? u/henrik_hjelteu/sergelubkin Serge: Our infrastructure resembles Alibaba Cloud, so a DApp developer just goes and deploys his DApp’s blockchain into it, it’s easy. Also our language Rell https://rell.chromia.com/en/maste is more robust than any other blockchain programming language.Or Azure or AWS Rell combines the following features:
Relational data modeling and queries similar to SQL. People familiar with SQL should feel at home once they learn the new syntax.
Normal programming constructs: variables, loops, functions, collections, etc.
Constructs which specifically target application backends and, in particular, blockchain-style programming including request routing, authorization, etc.
We want people to join our channels such as telegram, twitter, email also our decentralized forum https://testnet.chromunity.com and participate in discussions
We want people to try our dapps such as Mines of Dalarnia
We want to get feedback and understand the most important issues people care about Chromia and the blockchain industry in general
We want to get more developers building on top of Chromia
LBTS: What was your motivation for creating RELL and not use other languages? What benefits? Why name it RELL also? Henrik Hjelte: We have a private/federated relational blockchain called Postchain, and it allows SQL. But that can work in a small environment when you know all parties, and if you are really careful in checking code. But not for a more secure, distributed on the web setup, so we had to make it more secure (Deterministic, statically typed). In the process, we also took the opportunity to make it cool and nice. Also: it is simply not possibly to use evm, jvm, or web assembly. We need/want a database in the bottom. Postgresql is our virtual machine. You do not reimplement that…. 10+ years codebase…. Lee: Being part of the gamer community, I would like to know what you would think about collaborating with a MOBA, RPG or Arcade game or some kind of project? Henrik Hjelte: We are already collaborating with some smaller studios. For bigger fish, we want to show them what is completely unique and visionary with Chromia, and we think we need various examples. So, first arcade game MoD (linked above) is one example, it is not the full potential or anything but a start. In this summer, krystopia 2 a puzzle game from Antler Interactive will be released. What is even cooler is the “demo project” we do together with them, where we will show how a mutliplayer game with real blockchain features will work. I just saw it an hour ago and was blown away OH, and there is another studio releasing something very cool. Full logic on chain strategy game. Chain of Alliance. oyibo pepper: Do you encourage HACKATHON programs for intending Developers to test their skills and build on RELL Can you explain more about CHROMIA AMBASSADORS PROGRAM, CAN I BECOME AN AMBASSADOR Serge: Yes, you can, but you will need to change your avatar 🤣 Seriously, we are growing our Chromians community if you want to become one please ping our admins in Chromia telegram group. Also, we are planning virtual hackathons soon, please subscribe to stay updated Infinite Crypto: Since the Chromia project is currently working on the Ethereum blockchain ERC20 standard! But we know that there are a lot of scalability issues with Ethereum, so why would you choose the Ethereum blockchain over other scalable blockchains? Do you have any plans for Mainnet launch of Chromia? Henrik Hjelte: ETH is just used in a pre-phase for tokens. We will have our own mainnet tokens interchangable with ETH. Oyinbo pepper What’s CHROMIA SSO and SDK, how can I get started Henrik Hjelte Both are 3 letters. That is what they have in common. SDK = software development kit, check docs on https://rell.chromia.com SSO = single sign on. A unique UX improvement. You approve an app in your wallet (vault) with super ease. no need to remember codes sso: https://blog.chromia.com/chromia-sso-the-whys-and-the-whats/ We have a fundamentally different model from bitcoin and ethereum and the likes. The blockchain is not run by anonymous computers in basement and student dorms across the world. We have more of known identities, so 51% attacks is protected not by PoW/PoS but other consensus. Please see our whitepaper. Note that we are not noobs when it comes to this, our CTO Alex has published papers in academic journals on consensus etc. from 2013, and done several important ideas for blockchain. Sidechains we think he was first with, tokens too. Sheron Fernando: Is there any plan to makes partnership with local cryptocurrency developers from each country to make $CHR usage more worldwide? Serge: Yes, we are looking for cooperation with more external developers. Send me a message if you are interested in developing something on Chromia. Stella: What are the underlying problems in the Dapps today that can be solved with the Chromia protocol? Serge:
Scalability — on Chromia your dapp can have unlimited numbers of users thanks to parallel scaling
Easiness of use — you don’t need external wallets, no need to buy crypto to pay for gas etc
Cost — in general to deploy the dapp and to use the dapp
Marcel Lagacé: Why build this platform? What is Chromia mission? What are the most prominent features of the platform? Can you clarify the use case for this feature? Henrik Hjelte: We build the platform to fix the problems with blockchains, that we ourselves have experienced since 2014 (before ethereum existed). LBTS: Can you tell us about Chromia developers? How motivated and experienced are they to always deliver the best products? Henrik Hjelte: I can tell you that we recruit developers that are really good, from all parts of the world. Vietnam has been a hub because we found many good, so in Ukraine. How can we say “we have so good developers”? First one thing that is a bit different is that we are pretty experienced in leadership team of development. I do not code much anymore since I’m a CEO. But I do have now over 30 years of experience. Got published and was payed when I was 15. First full-time professional developer job at 18. Have released open-source projects used by 10: s of thousand developers. And Alex, our CTO is Extremely good. That is why I recruited him to my old startup 2006 or so… So: we have experience to sort out good developers from bad. Marcel Lagacé: Does Chromia staking model is different from other staking platform?? What are the beneficial advantages of chromia staking system? Serge: The main difference is that we have independent Providers, entities that are not connected. These serious players are exchanges, data centres, professional staking companies. They provide a backbone of the ecosystem and host dapps. Like Amazon servers in the cloud. They cannot have stake bigger than the maximum thus they can’t control the network. This is probably the main difference with classic DPoS networks Nguyen Duy Bao: A lot of people will want to know what the strength of Chromia is but I want to know the weaknesses and problems Chromia faces ? How do you plan to solve it? Henrik Hjelte: A weakness I guess is weak compared to “competition”. And there are some blockchain projects that got crazy amount of funding. So how can we compete with that, when they can hire more developers for example? Well here is what experience comes into play: More developers does not always increase productivity a lot, it is diminishing returns. You can see many large projects, with 100 of developers fail miserably with no results. And actually, sometimes true with marketing spend too. It is generally good with money, but if you are a bit clever you can compete also on marketing with less money than your competition. Please follow Chromia on Social Media: Website: https://www.chromia.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/chromia FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/teamchromia LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/chromia Telegram: https://t.me/hellochromia Decentralized Social network Chromunity: https://testnet.chromunity.com Free-to-Play Blockchain Game Mines of Dalarnia: https://www.minesofdalarnia.com
If you have decided to read all this, thanks, keep reading for a concise breakdown!
So what's the current big thing going on with ARK right NOW?
ARK.io has recently announced on both its blog and its Twitter that ARK Core v2.6 is coming to Mainnet February 11th. The iteration of 2.6 may sound anticlimactic, but it's far from that. Core v2.6 is the biggest upgrade to date- even bigger than the total Core overhaul performed for v2.0, deployed late 2018. The new version brings new transaction types to the ARK Public Network, including types that will play a role in creating an ecosystem of linked chains. This ecosystem of linked chains will have the ARK Public Network in the center of the action, storing chain details and allowing for chain discovery. These new transaction types include: Multipayments — sending to multiple ARK addresses, while just initiating one transaction, saves time and cost Multisignatures — you can now get all of the benefits of multisignatures where more than one user can propose or spend funds depending on the predefined terms (eg. 2 out of 3 users needed to successfully send tokens, vote, …) IPFS — register IPFS compliant hashes on the ARK blockchain within Desktop Wallet. Business & Bridgechain registrations — you can now register your business and bridgechain on the blockchain and soon, you will be able to get verified via our Marketplace to get access to some exciting new features. Delegate resignation — delegates who don’t want to be voted for anymore can now opt-out of this by simply initiating delegate resignation. Additionally, the Core v2.6 improves security against double-spend attacks by implementing nonces. Also, massive enhancements were made to the GTI or Generic Transaction Interface, a critical tool for developers who wish to develop decentralized applications.
What is ARK's unique approach to current issues plaguing the blockchain industry?
ARK empowers everyone, regardless of their aim or technical background, to quickly and easily leverage blockchain technology. In the current hype-driven blockchain landscape, ARK acts as a beacon for individuals, groups, and enterprises seeking to apply blockchain technology to both reach their individual goals and affect change in their local community. ARK’s uniquely simple technology stack allows almost anyone to create and deploy standalone blockchains for any use case with an intuitive graphical user interface and experience. These newly created blockchains also known as bridgechains will have the ability to interoperate through ARK SmartBridge Technology. ARK is also reinventing smart contracts with ARK Logic, a collection of tools including custom transaction types, templates, and plugins. ARK Logic brings security, adaptability, and scalability to decentralized computing workflows. Most importantly, the ARK Ecosystem fosters a growing international community of developers, node operators, blockchains, businesses, and enthusiasts who collectively breathe life into this disruptive technology. Get into the interactive whitepaper here.
Tell me about the ARK Public Network
Ok, no problem. Since coming online on March 21, 2017, the APN has operated as a P2P cryptocurrency with fast block times of 8 seconds and low dynamic fees (near a penny and somewhat novel for a DPoS blockchain). However, the end goal of the APN far exceeds that of just a cryptocurrency that is faster and cheaper to use than Bitcoin. I'll explain further in a minute. The network, as mentioned, is set up as Delegated Proof-of-Stake. This means forging delegates are deemed worthy to secure the chain and add blocks to it by the holders of the ARK token, which vote for delegates using their ARK as vote weight. ARK remains in users' control at all times, and the top 51 delegates in vote weight enter forging status. The network awards each delegate 2 ARK per block (~12,705 ARK/mo) for services rendered. This continues ad infinitum resulting in a declining inflation rate each year (relative to total supply). When users add or remove ARK from a voting wallet address, vote weight adjusts automatically and they don't need to vote again. Voting continues even if user's wallet is offline. The main uses of ARK as the cryptoasset of the ARK Public Network besides being a P2P cryptocurrency include:
Being a medium of exchange for ARK Public Network services. Delegates and businesses can operate services where transactions are settled in ARK.
Allowing convenience in interoperability, giving users access to bridgechain use cases via the main ARK cryptoasset.
Liquidity for small and large ARK bridgechains. This is via ARK SmartBridge Technology/ARK Swap Market (in development)
Payment method for plugin, delegate, and talent marketplaces. Services rendered can have transactions settled using ARK.
Yes, team good. Team very good. General sentiment among ARK team members is that ARK is a dream project to work on, and this motivates them to do great work on a consistent basis as the ARK technology stack progresses. Very recently, ARK hired an additional half dozen people in various departments, including marketing department. This brings ARK team total to over three dozen experts. The ARK business entity is also well funded with around 10 years of budget. The ARK business entity spends funds in a very sensible manner compared to some other projects who spend with insufficient foresight or discretion. Members of the board are thoughtful and deliberate, and the CEO FX Thoorens has been hard at work putting a spotlight on ARK, showing an 'intermeshing' of ARK with the global regulatory landscape in regards to crypto. Recently, ARK became a founding member of ADAN, a professional association based in France created to help structure and develop the digital assets industry. Other members include Consensys France and Ledger. ADAN will consult with public authorities, industry leaders and private bodies to promote the use of digital assets and all activities in this sector. This includes exchange platforms, brokers, hardware, protocols, decentralized applications and blockchain technology platforms. Hear FX Thoorens talk more about this in this podcast episode. The ARK business entity is located in France, but the ARK team is distributed across 10+ countries and multiple continents.
What's going to happen?
Cool stuff. Organizations and open source projects have been stumbling across ARK and really like what they see. Multiple projects are working with ARK technology and are at various stages of development, but since you're busy, I'll highlight the project nOS which recently launched their public testnet and uses ARK technology for their blockchain. nOS also has great things to say about ARK that you can hear in this podcast episode or watch in this video. We believe that as more businesses, organizations, and open source projects start looking around for blockchain solutions, they will also enjoy ARK's simplicity, flexibility, and feature set. Our powerful technology stack is backed up by a recently upgraded documentation hub for developers. The product we have that makes it very easy for projects to join the ARK Ecosystem is called the ARK Deployer, which you can learn about in this two minute video. It allows developers from all walks of life to create, customize and launch a standalone blockchain in three simple steps. In the near future, what's going to happen is a big improvement to the Deployer. The ARK Deployer will get an upgraded and more powerful user interface that also facilitates chain management post-launch, as well as interface directly with cloud providers like Digital Ocean to launch genesis node and peers in background. This would allow for a massive leap forward in our vision of 'Point. Click. Blockchain.' ARK.io is also working on a Marketplace for developers, where custom plugins and tools developed by both ARK.io as well as third parties can be acquired for assembling blockchains much easier. Imagine a wordpress-type environment where you can create a super-powerful and customized blockchain by connecting Legos together. In the same way that early World Wide Web needed WordPress/Squarespace style tools to bring the technology to every business or organization, we believe that this need will be out there for blockchain technology as this new decade progresses. There is more cool stuff that is going to happen, but I'll wrap it up there for now.
After reading all this stuff, what is it you want me to do?
Well, not make any financial decisions, because that is not the purpose of this information. However, as a developer, there's a lot of interesting things you should know and may want to consider doing. The ARK technology stack uses TypeScript and other JS-style frameworks, so if you know those, you should get excited.
Earn a lot more ARK. The Tier 0 Program offers bigger projects we need help with and therefore more ARK. You can even contact the team with an idea for a Tier 0 Project you want to do that makes ARK look cool. For example, there is a Tier 0 project designed to highlight ARK tech as a proof of concept for scooter rentals. See program status here.
Look into the ARK Deployer for making your own chain with a custom use case. If you are a part of a project that is currently just a token on someone else's mainnet, and you have scaling concerns or issues with sovereignty, ARK should be a candidate for upgrading your solution for this new decade. Check out ARK Deployer here.
Here's some additional less 'developery' stuff you can do:
Get your idea funded through theARK Community Fund. It's community run, and operated by community elected board members. Your idea can be anything that helps ARK, maybe some seed money for a business like this one that ships ARK Stickers worldwide, or maybe some small dev project, or video production, or article, etc.
Subscribe to the ARK Crypto Podcast. It happens weekly, and it's one of the absolute best podcasts in the space that's centered around a specific project. It knows you're busy, so it's to the point, well constructed, and entertaining. The podcast is looking for subscribers. Do it on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Castbox, etc. Here's an updated ARK overview episode that covers much more than you read in this post today.
Other subscribing goodies. Twitter, Slack, Discord, Reddit, Facebook, Medium, etc list of links here.
Just in case, throwing the website URL here, which is ARK.io - it's a really good website that has more information for users and developers, as well as live integrations with dynamic data.
Thanks for coming along for the ride of this post. ARK has been out here, it's out here, and it's going to continue to be out here, doing its part to make sure everybody knows that blockchains are, in fact, a thing.
Deathstroke The Terminator aka Slade Wilson is a DC Comics comic book character that has been around since 1980. This respect thread which may be updated in the future, will be about the "DC Rebirth" version of Deathstroke, which has been the main version/Earth 0 version of the character since he was more or less rebooted back in 2016. The main writer of this Deathstroke is Christopher Priest which is why this Deathstroke may be known as "Prieststroke". Christopher Priest is virtually the Word of God when it comes to this Deathstroke, and he has a site specifically dedicated to this Deathstroke: http://lamerciepark.com/comics/deathstroke/ Most quotations will be from that site, and I recommend reading it for the best intro into the series and an understanding of this Deathstroke. Also for an idea of how this Deathstroke is meant to look, This is Deathstroke's Rebirth Design version 1.1. Now, Who is DC Rebirth's Deathstroke?:
He is not a mercenary, profesional soldier, military subcontractor or any other clever euphemism used to round the edges off of his description. Deathstroke kills people for money. Lots of money. He spends a great deal of that money on a virtual army of lawyers who expertly prevent police and/or covert entities from ever positively proving Lt. Colonel Slade Wilson (Ret.) and Deathstroke are, in fact, one and the same.
Deathstroke is approximately 55 years of age but appears to be 20 years younger due to the tissue regeneration caused by his rapid healing power. He is 6'4", taller than Superman or Batman, (and very intimidating). Slade is an extremely cool customer, much like the first act or so of the Michael Mann-Tom Cruise film Collateral. He occasionally wears sunglasses so the eye patch (a stick-on white patch) isn’t necessarily seen. It is very difficult to get Deathstroke to lose his temper.
Deathstroke is an emotional cripple along the lines of Hugh Laurie's House M.D., a guy who desperately loves and desires to be close to his children, but is too emotionally damaged to ever achieve that. He was a terrible father and is now haunted by a lot of poor choices made with his wife Adeline and his boys, especially.
The only people he actually talks to are his longtime partner Major William Randolph Wintergreen, British SAS (Ret.), his kids and his ex-wife. Wintergreen, approximately 65, is a reluctant partner who has ethical conflicts about DS's line of work. Other than that, Deathstroke is (in my version) much more laconic than as he's traditionally been portrayed. He trusts no one, thinks most everyone is an idiot, speaks only when absolutely necessary.
Deathstroke works for himself, is suspicious of all governments (especially ours). You hire him by posting an offer on the Dark Web along with a six-figure deposit in untraceable Bitcoin.
Deathstroke's basic powers are:
Enhanced Strength: Roughly that of Captain America. YMMV. Enhanced Reflexes: Roughly that of Captain America. YMMV.
Note* Christopher Priest has written Captain America before (The Captain America and Falcon series if i recall), so what his Captain America did may be usable for his Deathstroke. Also YMMV is "Your Milleage May Vary", which means basically it may be different in your view. Deathstroke also has
Enhanced Intellect: Post-Rebirth, we're redefining this a little. We no longer say Deathstroke uses "90% of his brain capacity." If Deathstroke used 90% of his brain capacity, he'd be Charles Xavier. Now we just say he's really, really smart. Deathstroke is probably the smartest guy in the DC Universe. He is easily the equal of Batman in terms of strategic planning. Deathstroke's intellect is deadlier than his sword. He typically out-thinks and out-strategizes everybody in the book. He is a keen observer and expert detective. He usually has several balls in the air at one time.
Rapid Healing: Post-Rebirth, we're redefining this a little. Deathstroke's rapid healing clots blood in seconds and seals wounds in minutes. The time it takes for full healing depends upon the wound: a bee sting, maybe a couple seconds. A gunshot wound: a few hours. It depends on the complexity of the knitting process, how much tissue needs to be regenerated and other factors. It is not an instant process. Deathstroke's rapid healing cannot regenerate organs. It can heal organs, but, for example, it won't regenerate a liver if a bad guy rips his out. Therefore, his rapid healing power did not simply create a new eye (or, in the case of Marvel's over-the-top Deathstroke parody Deadpool, grow a new hand). Deathstroke experiences pain like anyone else. Just because he has rapid healing doesn't mean he'd just sit around and let people gut him with swords. This is why he wears a protective uniform.. Deathstroke experiences trauma like anyone else and is capable of going into traumatic shock from injury. If he does not allow his rapid healing process to properly close a wound, Deathstroke can bleed out and die just like anyone else.
Deathstroke's intellect in Rebirth: "Deathstroke is probably the smartest guy in DC." "Easily the equal of Batman in terms of strategic planning", and He is also an "Expert Detective". "Outsmarting Deathstroke is likely not possible." And "He is at least as resourceful and intelligent and well prepared as Batman."
The 2016 Deathstroke comic book series has concluded and Christopher Priest has finished his Deathstroke series, so, this is likely the end of this respect thread for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, The Legend Continues..
Part one My name is Special Agent “Barry Allen” . (Not my real name of course) It's actually my code name. Given to me by my colleagues. You may recognize this name from the comic book character “The Flash”. I was given this name due to my quickness to obtain IP addresses , bypass firewalls and hack into certain deep web sites and shut them down. That is my area of expertise. However, I've also been assigned to a Joint Task Force before which tracked and arrested drug runners, firearms dealers and human trafficking rings. Believe it or not. The federal government is everywhere. Social media, Reddit, YouTube. You name it. We have our guys on it. We monitor everything. That being said, the FBI only has jurisdiction to operate within the borders of the United States. In this new digital age we find ourselves living, Cybercrime is much more of a direct threat. Now more than ever… Yes in the past we feared as a nation, biological and chemical warfare. As an example, right after 9/11 the United States had an Anthrax attack. In the FBI, it was known as “Amerithrax” Letters were mailed containing anthrax spores to several news media offices and to Democratic Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy, killing 5 people and infecting 17 others. Once the victim opened the letters they would immediately be exposed to the spores. Inhaling them is the most deadly form of the attacks. And it quickly destroys your immune and respiratory system's.Back then there were no known cures and it was difficult to treat as the symptoms often times confused doctors. The death rate once exposed was nearly 95% .No one was ever officially arrested or tried as the primary suspect for this horrific crime. If you ask me though, the scariest part of this investigation is where it led us….To a lab on an Army base. Essentially the US Army was weaponizing Anthrax using independent scientists specializing in microbiological warfare. Of course though, if you wanted to bring down Western Civilization today , all you'd have to do is manipulate or destroy our satellites and we would be back in the dark ages. Computers, banks , grocery stores and cell phones, power plants, even the water filtration system runs with electronics and the ability to communicate with satellites. Essentially, our world now depends on this. It's scary to think about. Especially when 14 year olds are hacking into the largest banks in the world from their mother's basement. Somehow they are able to bypass the best security systems we know of. (I personally believe they are using password skimmers) We joke in my department that in order to work for us, you simply only need to be smarter than a teenager. My background is in IT while in the military. While serving i also obtained several certifications and degrees in my field.. I worked alongside someone i never thought i would. Turns out the federal government often times hires former hackers to “consult” for them. In fact they have an army of internet soldiers at their disposal. I was actually trained by a convicted felon. It's been said he is one of the best hackers in the world. Eventually i was put in contact with men in the FBI. Essentially went through a series of rigorous “tests” to determine my operating field of work. After seeing our skills, they then placed myself and the felon on the Cyber Anti-Terrorism unit (or CAT as we call it) . Our first assignment was to locate a man on the Deep Web known only as “Captain Death” He runs this anonymous site in which the viewers would donate bitcoin to watch unspeakable acts of torture, mutilation and murder. Often times called “Red Rooms”. After searching for a while, clicking on every single link given to us, we found the exact link which directed us to the host site.We visited the website. For a moment the page was completely black. So we waited a few moments. Suddenly a bright red colored text appears across the top of the screen. “Welcome! To the house of pain, tonight's events will commence in 2 minutes. Enjoy” Looking over at my colleague, Jeff begins penetrating the sites security systems attempting to find the IP address of the hosts location. Viewing the site still with my eyes locked onto the screen. Using my laptop separate from Jeffs. The monitor goes black, Then a video attempts to load. Buffering now for several minutes. “Any luck Jeff”? I ask. “I'm searching for a weakness in the security firewall. Give me a minute” he responds. Frustrated i say, “We may not have a minute” Using access control, Jeff was able to find and manipulate the users login information bringing down the video before the it began. Believe it or not. One of the weakest points to a website can often times be it's login feature. Jeff found a vulnerability in the source codes software and exploited it. Still haven't found the guy. As that process is much more difficult. For now, we can rest a little bit easier knowing his account is compromised. The best hack is when you can invade a security system and not ever be noticed. This was not one of those instances. “Who are you” appears on Jeff's computer screen. He responds quickly “The Dark Knight” in bold green text as he looks over the offenders account. Attempting to track down banking information. Recent transactions. Even bitcoin exchange. Searching over the vast amount of data pouring into the site. Seems they have gone through great lengths to keep themselves hidden from the public. The Identity of the perp is still unknown. Patting Jeff on the shoulder i thank him for saving my eyes from witnessing god only knows what. I suppose for now it's a small victory. “Let's take a break Jeff” I urge. Shutting down our laptops we exit the dark cold room we sat in with monitors, computers, servers and many other electronic components all around us. One thing to remember, heat is the enemy of electronics. and for some strange reason, we enjoy freezing our asses off while hacking. Walking outside Jeff lights up a cigarette and takes a drag. Putting on his sunglasses “Want one?” He asks “No thanks, they really break my concentration, I don't seem to function well with that in my system” i reply… he scoffs and quietly whispers (amateur) while choking and coughing. I smile and look up “Yeah well at least I can breathe” I say laughing. (A smile forming on ny face) We begin walking to a nearby restaurant. My phone lights up and rings loudly. It's my supervisor. “Go for Barry” I speak confidently. My boss is breathing heavily into the phone and says sternly “What's the News on Captain Death”? I begin to inform him on our progress and our struggles. “Keep me posted Barry, good work.” He says. (Not telling him Jeff did most of the work, i feel bad for taking credit for this one) Reaching the doors of the bar and grill, I notice a man sitting in the corner of the restaurant with his family. Jumping back quickly while peering around the corner. Jeff gives me a strange look as I inform him that man is a fugitive from an earlier investigation. I call in for back up and sit back in our unmarked unit waiting for the Cavalry to arrive as he is armed and extremely dangerous. 15 minutes pass as back up swarms the parking lot. We exit the vehicle and surround the building. Rushing in 12 men strong, guns drawn we make the arrest. Fortunately, he did not resist. No civilians were harmed on the takedown.This man has been on the run for months moving from state to state. I had previously set up a sting operation to illegally buy stolen guns from the man which had been arranged through the deep web. However , this particular sting was an in-person arms deal. He appeared very spooked and got away from us before the transaction was made. After searching his panel van today we found an entire armory of weapons. A few days pass and we now have a search warrant issued by the judge for his last known address. Confiscating all of his computers, hard drives and weapons. My partner and I found a hidden room below the living room floor boards with $1.4 million dollars in it. It also had passports and other documents. He was ready to flee the country for sure. Why he was out in public is beyond me. Though often times, men like him feel they are untouchable and above the law. It's several weeks later and work has been slow. (Not sure if that is good or bad) Until today that is, I began chatting on forums and meeting interesting characters in chat rooms. On the clear net and deep web. Today I met a dark shadowy figure online. He claims to have worked with a group of hackers who specializes in debit and credit card theft online. (Playing the part ask in a private chat) “How much does this pay?” Moments pass with no answer. I sit and wait for a response. A message appears with a link and a phone number. “Contact him for a trial run, if you do well. He'll set you up with further work” he writes. (Thinking for a moment, finally an adversary worth hunting) Typing quickly I say “Who is he, do you know him personally”? He responds rapidly and the text box closes after he writes “Rule number one, no names!” Fortunately I was able to copy the link and phone number before my computer screen went completely blank. Reaching for the burner phone i recently acquired i begin dialing the number provided. It rings several times. No answer. So i check out the link i copied. Right before i click on it. My phone lights up and rings beside me forcing me to jump out of my seat. Startled i look at the cell phone. Mildly confused as it reads 'unknown number’. Quickly i answer the phone. A man on the other end speaks. “How did you find this number”? he asks. I inform him i was searching online for a while. Im new and im looking for work. “I was told you're the man to call if i wanted some action, i need the money” i implore. “Competition is next week, meet at this address, winner gets a spot on my team, if you think you're up for the test, be on time” he demands. I thank him and abruptly hang up. Jeff comes over to my place. He has some info on low level guys in the fraudulent/stolen debit card scheme. Using an unmarked and totally not suspicious surveillance van. We follow a few men on their day to day operations. For the most part, this portion of our job is the worst. Very daunting and boring. Sitting and waiting isn't exactly glamourous as the movies depict it to be. From what we can tell so far these men are using credit card skimmers. Victims of credit card skimming are completely blindsided by the theft. They notice fraudulent charges on their accounts or money withdrawn from their accounts, but their credit and debit cards never left their possession. How did the theft happen? You may be wondering, what exactly is this? Credit card skimming is a type of credit card theft where crooks use a small device to steal credit card information in an otherwise legitimate credit or debit card transaction. When a credit or debit card is swiped through a skimmer, the device captures and stores all the details stored in the card's magnetic stripe. The stripe contains the credit card number and expiration date and the credit card holder's full name. Thieves use the stolen data to make fraudulent charges either online or with a counterfeit credit card. These men have been using these small devices all over the local area and surrounding states as well. Targeting the nicer areas of town. Attaching the devices to the ATMs. Sitting a short distance away in their cars watching each victim approaching. Laughing all the way to the bank...so to speak. After several days of stake-outs. Out team makes the arrests. Finding blank cards, machines and large sums of cash on hand. After hours of interrogations we learn a much bigger scheme is in the works. The men inform us that they were merely a distraction for a much larger crime. My supervisor gives us clearance to make a deal with them. Lessening their charges if they are willing to cooperate. Speaking with the men for 3 more hours we learn what's really going on. The next few days are extremely tense as our offices try to warn all the banks and even get the media involved. Calling every bank, big and small we alert them of the situation that cybercriminals are poised to carry out an “ATM cash-out,” an operation that gives thieves access to untold sums of money by bypassing security measures on an ATM. If successful, the operation has the potential to be a heist unlike any we’ve ever seen. The FBI has obtained unspecified reporting indicating cyber criminals are planning to conduct a global Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cash-out scheme in the coming days, likely associated with an unknown card issuer breach and commonly referred to as an ‘unlimited operation‘. These unlimited operations compromise financial institutions or payment processors by installing malware that allows hackers to exploit network access, allowing admin-level access. Once inside, they can disable fraud protection, raise maximum ATM withdrawal amounts (and transaction limits) and withdraw large sums of money. Millions, potentially. All they’ll need to carry out the attack are debit and credit card numbers found on the dark web, and dummy cards, also known as “blanks,” to attach the numbers to. The cyber criminals typically create fraudulent copies of legitimate cards by sending stolen card data to co-conspirators who imprint the data on reusable magnetic strip cards, such as gift cards purchased at retail stores. At a pre-determined time, the co-conspirators withdraw account funds from ATMs using these cards. It's nearly a week later and im preparing for my tests. I have my laptop ready in its case. Im extremely nervous.The information given to me is that i am to meet at this very strange building on the outskirts of town. I have no idea what to expect. I must come in first place to become a member of the team and ultimately take down the leader of this cybercrime domestic terrorist. If things go according to his plan.He could potentially put the entire country on its knees and our banking systems would completely collapse.Chaos and madness will spread like wildfires. Millions of people unable to access their money will riot and destroy stores. Stealing food and everything they can get their hands on. The police will be overrun and unable to do anything about it. The military would most certainly be called in an attempt to regain order. Mass hysteria ensues. To the extremes we have never seen before. I must stop him. Before its too late…. Part 2 The day has come and I just received the call I've long avoided. It is time. The competition for top tier hackers are meeting at this building in which i believed to have been abandoned. We are in the surveillance van. Heading towards our destination. Our equipment is all packed up. Wearing a wire on my chest. (Hopefully they don't pat me down upon entry) Jeff is driving recklessly, as he has a bad habit of being late. Testing the audio in the back of the van. Generally this is done days before an operation. However, we are rather short on time. (Not pointing any fingers) Leaving the city limits, we now enter a heavily wooded area. There is only one way in. The road is turning into rubble. Small rocks are shooting from our tires .Lights are fading behind us as we venture further into the forest. Jeff now using high beams. We notice it's grown quiet. Other than hearing the tires on the gravel road. There seems to be less and less wildlife in the area. I got this feeling like we are being watched. Checking my cell phone, we have lost all signal. (Is this a trap)? i thought . Our other equipment seems to work just fine. I can begin to see dim lights in the distance. We must be nearing the competition. “You ready for this?” (Jeff asks while blowing smoke out the window) I start to swat the backdraft of the smoke billowing back into my window. “Yeah, I'm ready, you should really consider cutting back on the smokes.” I utter. Just then, a pack of Marlboros are hurled in my direction. “We're here , Barry. Make sure you have everything.” (Jeff commands) “I'm all set.” I reply. Jeff stops the Van on the gravel. Exiting the vehicle, i grab my backpack while adjusting my clothes. (I found some glasses with regular lens in them, so as to ‘look the part’) Walking towards the building i speak quietly into my chest microphone. “Test, test chest mic, how do you read me” i ask. (Jeffs growly voice comes into my earpiece) “Loud and clear, good luck” he responds. One odd thing i notice right away as my feet kick up against the rocks on the ground is that there is only one vehicle other than ours. A large bus. Slightly confused, i look in every direction while also investigating the bus. Seems as though it's empty. (Later i would learn everyone else met up at a different location and they all took the bus to get here). Reaching the suspicious looking building, i reach for the door handle. As the door opens with little force, loud music hits me as well as bright flashing lights. What the hell? Walking around i find what i was looking for in a back room. “You're late , take your seat.” a well dressed man says (Seeing one empty seat left) Grabbing my laptop from the bag. Booting it up and joining the their local area network. Connection established. A strange software automatically downloads on my laptop. The man who greeted me walks over to examine my screen. “We will wait until this participant is ready” (he tells everyone else) Minutes pass and the program has finished installing. What's on my screen is a D O D login showing the user name and password empty fields. “Ok everyone, your first task will be to crack the code and gain entry into this system. You have ten minutes to access the servers and find the login information. The first 10 people who accomplish this task will advance to the next round, good luck, your time starts now!” he explained. A voice come over my earpiece once more .“Ok Barry, i'm linked up with your laptop, i can see everything you see. I will now control everything remotely. How do you read”? Jeff says quietly. “I hear you, I'll let you take over from here.” I reply. My colleague begins typing away like mad. It's been said he can type up to 153 words per minute. Looking at my screen, the computer is changing rapidly, each window appearing with different streams of code. (Almost like what you seen in the movie The Matrix) Which i suppose is a foreign language to most people. It can seem overwhelming at times. Normally. I would be doing this. Jeff is far better and faster than i. It's not worth the risk. This task is far too important. There is much at stake here. As he continues going in through the firewall. More boxes open and close all over the screen. I appear as if im typing away. As there is a man walking around watching each potential hacker perform their duties. Not sure if it's the leader of this anonymous group. He is in a dark suit and all i can see is the flashes of light from each monitor. Maybe it's just my paranoia but i feel like he keeps shooting me these awfully suspicious looks. Have to stay focused. Come on Barry. You need this. Concentrate! Keep your head in the game. I can't lose myself in the moment. Oh wait a minute, i just now remembered. I'm not even in control of my machine. Jeff, i sure as hell hope you know what you're doing… “Barry, you DO know i just heard everything you said, right? Now shut the hell up and let me work. We only have 4 minutes left!!” Jeff urges. “Well then hurry up you lung cancer having prick, I'm dying in here. Must be 90 degrees” i whisper. Just then (Access granted) appears on my screen. The login information has been hacked. Instantly i jump up as if I've just won in BINGO. “I'm in!!!” I yell loudly to the man. He nods and another man comes over to confirm the legitimacy of my claim. After confirmation is given a few moments later. Myself and several others are ushered to another room not first seen when you enter the building. First we are taken down a flight of unkempt stairs creaking and groaning with every step. Feeling as it could give out at any moment. Our group reaches the bottom of the stairs and are now on a platform. A mechanical whirring is heard as we now are being lowered even further underground. “Where the hell are we going”? One man asks in fear. “Silence fool”!! (Says the man in a nice dark suit) Finally the platform stops as i would approximate we are at least 80 feet underground. A long dark hallway is before us. Lit dimly by low hanging lights. Which never seem to end as far as we can see. Walking for several minutes i no longer hear my associate in my ear piece. So i remove it quickly before anyone notices. There is a musty smell that has disturbed me immediately coming down here. It grows stronger the closer we get to the direction we are headed. Im last in line only in front of what i assess is a hired goon. Stopping for a moment im pushed forward on my upper back near my shoulders. (I swear if i wasn't trying to save the world right now, I'd just take out my service pistol and blow this cocksucker away. No one would miss him) We reach a large old wooden door with absolutely no handle or markings of any kind. The leader pushes up against the wall near the door and it opens slowly. Everyone pours in single file line. There is a large wooden table with chairs almost like a conference room. “Take your seats please” the leader addresses. “You're all probably wondering what the hell we are doing down here, well you're here for a job. Also i didn't want any interference of any kind. Just in case the government is watching us. There's no way they could possibly hear what's being said this far underground.” He explains. “Congratulations to each of you that has moved on to the next round. You 10 have been chosen to advance to the next stage in the competition. This following task will include various stages of difficulty. You will be chosen at random by a computer so it's completely fair. Each of you are to hack into some the world's largest banks and bring down their servers. Please come back to this location. Your names have been taken down and we shall contact you if anything changes. I expect to see all of you back with us .Same time next week. 6 days from now. That is all for now, thank you.” The leader finishes and leaves the room first. Each man muttering and chatting loudly. I can hear only bits and pieces as everyone is talking loudly. Minutes pass and we are escorted out of the building. Everyone begins walking towards the bus. I veer towards my van and am stopped by the same man who pushed me earlier. “Just where the hell do you think you're going”? He asks. “Oh i didn't get the meet up spot, i had to drive here.” I respond while swatting away his hand from my shoulder. The man reaches in his pocket pulling out a card. “Be at this location and be on time or we will find someone else” the man urges. I snatch the card and stuff it into my wallet. Reaching the van, i hop in and drive away. “What the hell happened in there”? Jeff demands. I begin informing him of everything that took place and explained the situation. He nods and tells me good work. Wait a minute, this doesn't look right. Jeff looks at me puzzled. Something is off. I don't remember any of this. Now there's a fork in the road. Is this the way we came? I thought i remembered it being only a one way in and one way out. “You went off the gravel road, move over,let me drive.” Jeff says. Hey sorry man, I'm a hacker. Not a tracker. Just get us the hell out of here. I'm more lost than Atlantis. About an hour passes and Jeff somehow gets us out of the woods and back to the main road. We head back towards my house. But suddenly he makes a detour. “Screw this man. After all that i need a damn drink. You down”? Jeff asks. “Well in the words of my father, If you have time to think, you have time to drink” i utter proudly. (Then again dad was a major alcoholic, so perhaps that's bad advice) “Well alright then” jeff says as he floors the gas pedal. Roughly 20 minutes later we arrive at his favourite bar where he immediately opens up a tab. I'm worried as I've heard he drinks like a fish. Not to mention we are both armed in a bar. (Yes that's illegal but screw you i am F B I. Remember folks, laws are made to be broken, otherwise, I'd be out of a job) Crap i think i have lost my colleague. I begin walking around the establishment and am stunned to see this gorgeous blonde woman cross my path. We strike up a conversation and i soon forget about Jeff. (Meh oh well he is a grown man, i am sure he will be fine) She asks what i do for work and of course i lie. Never know when you need to run a background check on someone. Besides telling the whole world you're an undercover FBI agent isn't exactly the best idea. Or so the Bureau instructed us. We continue chatting for a while and eventually part ways as it began to get late into the night we exchange numbers and she leaves gracefully. I walk outside to see the van still parked in the same spot. A bit puzzled i go over to inspect the van thinking maybe he just passed out in the front seat. I arrive at the driver's side door and open it to find all of our equipment gone and jeff is nowhere to be found. Freaking out i run back into the bar searching all over even behind the bar next to the register. The bathrooms are empty and it's closing time. I have no idea where he went.. Did he leave with some one or was he was abducted possibly, either way i am completely dead if my supervisor finds out about this. I have to find him and the equipment. And who the hell was that girl, could she have something to do with this? I need answers. Oh no. I just realized, my laptop is also missing. If that information gets in the wrong hands. It could have catastrophic consequences…...
News.Bitcoin.com recently discovered a platform called Bitrank, a project that allows people to simply copy and paste a BTC or ETH address, in order to check to see if the address follows AML/CFT First generate a Bitcoin private key. Next fund it. Build the transaction. Finally submit it to the network. Video tutorial. I recorded my test quickly completing the necessary steps of this tutorial article on the Bitcoin mainnet. Walkthrough 1. Generate your Bitcoin private key. First you have to make a decision where you want to work. Coinbase is a secure platform that makes it easy to buy, sell, and store cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and more. Based in the USA, Coinbase is available in over 30 countries worldwide. Transactions - private keys. A transaction is a transfer of value between Bitcoin wallets that gets included in the block chain. Bitcoin wallets keep a secret piece of data called a private key or seed, which is used to sign transactions, providing a mathematical proof that they have come from the owner of the wallet. The signature also prevents the transaction from being altered by anybody The Global Advisors Bitcoin Investment Fund (GABI), a hedge fund dedicated to investing in bitcoin, this week announced it had hired Laurent Kssis, who has worked in the ETF industry for 15 years. Despite the SEC’s rejection of this proposed ETF, “demand is strikingly evident for bitcoin-based, exchange traded products”, says Danny
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